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The first thing I do when someone registers for the DIYMarketers newsletter or for any helpful tip is ask if they have a question. Most of the time I answer them individually, but now and then, a question really has that “How to” traction that I think you might enjoy — so here’s a question I got from one of my readers I thought would make a great article:
I’ve spent the last 15 years in the real estate industry and would consider myself an expert in that area, and lately, I’ve been seeing myself as more of a coach. I LOVE it! It’s really rewarding to be able to share what I’ve learned with folks who are new to the industry. I think I wan to be a coach — where do I start?”
— Put-me-in-Coach, Sarah
If you love helping people succeed and have a good mind for business, then becoming a business coach may be the perfect way to focus your professional job experience into a new business. While the number of coaches seemed to have reached an apex in the past year or two, a good business coach is still in demand.If this sounds like something that you might be interested in — then read on (or share with someone you know who wants to be a coach).
#1: Craft a marketing message. ?This is the shortest, easiest, way to get to the root of how you will set YOU coaching business apart from anyone else. It will help you define exactly who your ideal customer is and what sets you apart enough for them to choose YOU. If this is the first time you’ve thought about this stuff, give yourself some time and know that you will go through this a couple of times until you hit on something that works. Here’s a quick tip — what is your philosophy, what do you know for sure, what do you believe is true in your industry, what is your bold prediction?
#2 Create a business model. Once you have your audience and an idea of exactly what they need. Start playing with a business model. Think of a business model as an assembly line for your service. Where will new clients come from, how do they find you, choose you, decide to work with you, what service do they start with. Believe me it really is like an assembly line of moving prospects to customers to raving fans. You can see what models other business coaches use, but I would rather you stick with a solid marketing funnel that focuses on YOUR strengths than trying to copy what someone else is doing. Follow a solid sales and marketing funnel to move your audience from prospect to profitable customer.
#3 Systemetize your coaching program: What specific problem are you solving and how are you solving it. What you need to create at this stage is a PROCESS or a system that visually explains exactly what you do and what benefit the client will experience. A great example is a well done infomercial. The infomercial product might be a weight-loss system. Notice that they don’t just tell you that you’re going to lose weight – they show you HOW it happens, what their unique system is and why it will work better than any other alternative.
You’ll also want to outline your coaching program. How are you going to conduct sessions: on the phone, via email, in person? How are you going to charge your clients? What does a coaching program with you look like? Is it open ended or close ended, (meaning it lasts for a predetermined amount of time)?
#4 Decide if you want to become a certified business coach. There are a number of coaching institutions that will teach you all you need to know about coaching. They’ll help you learn how to conduct a coaching session, what types of exercises and activities to give your clients to help them succeed and they will show you how to structure a coaching program and perhaps even how to start your own coaching business.
That being said, a coaching certification isn’t required to become a coach. It may lend some credibility to your business, but ultimately the decision is up to you. If you have a list of prospects knocking on your door and waiting for you to hang up your open sign, then certification may not be necessary.
#5 How will you screen clients? Presumably not every client is going to be a good match for you and your coaching services? What does your ideal client look like? How will you screen them? How will you say no? I recommend either (or both) of these methods:
- Client application: This doesn’t have to be anything complicated or formal. It’s more like a questionnaire or a quiz to determine if you and the client are a good match. The key to developing this application is to make a list of the outcomes you know you can deliver and ask if your client has or wants these outcomes. Another strategy might be to outline exactly what you need for your client relationship to be successful and use that.
- Call: You might also offer a free call with your potential client to get to know them and offer a sort of “breakthrough session” or 30 minute coaching call. This will give both of you the opportunity to see what it might be like to work together.
#6 Define your capacity: ?Take an honest look at your schedule and decide how many clients you can take on at any given point in time and then create a strategy to achieve that goal. Consider starting with the end in mind — how much do you want to earn each month? Break that down to how many one-to-one clients you need or decide on how you can create a group coaching program (that’s both a lower cost option for clients and efficient for you). Sit down with a pen, paper, calculator or spreadsheet and do some math. A lot of successful coaches start with single “beta test” clients who then refer new clients and help them develop a group coaching program.
#7 Market your business: Finally, in order to become a successful business coach, you’re going to need to market your business. Ultimately, word of mouth, credibility and authority are what will drive your coaching business. One extremely satisfied customer who is motivated to spread the word, say through a referral incentive, will help grow your business to a point where you have a full schedule. Develop a referral marketing system (watch this webinar for more info).
Becoming a successful business coach is first about building a successful business. You need to know the ins and outs, fears and doubts for people starting their own business, and you need to be able to fill your schedule through referrals and word of mouth marketing. If you have a knack for helping people succeed, get out there and become a business coach. People need you.